Squealer - Under The Cross
AFM Records
Heavy / Power Metal
11 songs (43'30)
Release year: 2002
AFM Records
Reviewed by Chris
Album of the month

2 years after their last Opus, Squealer are back with yet another killer album ! That one is a bit less catchy, and one must dive a bit into it, but once you've played that disc 2 or 3 times, you're gonna be amazed by the secrets it will reveal !

Under The Cross is a pure masterpiece of Heavy/Power Metal, with Henner's unmistakable (half clean-half aggressive) vocals, the mad and fiercely fast drumming aggression of Mike Terrana (man, you really are The Machine !!!!), and the heavy riffing of the 2 guitars. Add to that a perfect production by Andy Sneap (Machine Head, Testament, Nevermore, Kreator) and you've got yourself one more masterpiece for this excellent German band. Compare to the previous album (Made For Eternity), Under The Cross is more straight, less melodic somehow and less accessible I guess, but instead Squealer choose a path where that straight attitude definitely pays off. Don't get me wrong when I say it's less melodic, you'll still find some excellent melodies throughout that jewel album, but they're not in front, like it was the case for a few songs in Made For Eternity, where the growing interest for the True Metal movement was definitely making most bands in the Heavy / Power Metal scene orienting their songs into hymns with epic et ultra-melodic choruses, not that I mind, on the contrary, but I think we have got enough of those during the last few years.

On my favorite songs, I'd say that the opener is the ultimate killer, Painful Lust is nothing painful, on the contrary !!! The second Facing The Death songs starts with a basic yet perfect riff, then the double drumming machine comes in to explode your mind and will leave you begging for more... again : a killer. My Last Goodbye is a mid tempo song with a beautiful chorus, one that will make you sing under your shower. Then the butchery goes on again with the 4th track Thinking Allowed on which fast riffing will definitely be the key, the chorus of the song is a mid-tempo epic one, very original, and once again, the kind of chorus you'll sing everywhere while breaking your neck intentionally. What Squealer have left behind in melody they definitely won in speed and aggression. So the albums continue, delivering killer songs after killer songs. Once the songs enter your mind, they won't go away any day soon, actually they will stay carved in your mind for a very long time !!! Amongst the rest of the killing songs there are 3 more songs that really need to be mentioned, those are Rules Of Life with its majestic chorus and Down And Out and Out Of The Dark for their speed and square guitar riffing. Only track that is REALLY weird is In Zaire, with sounds of the jungle and this "Zaire" feel I guess :), well, it's not bad, but I think it doesn't sound very serious a song. Anyway, that's a little detail that's doesn't compromise the masterpiece that Under The Cross is, but I could have lived without that song that's for sure ;).

Squealer signs a wonderful release, very different from their last album, yet once again it's a winner (it's getting a bad habit for these guys ;), just kidding). Having seen them live back in 2000 in Lyon, I can tell you that Squealer rocks on stage !!! I'm not sure they play a lots of gigs, but if they do come near you, I suggest you go see these guys, you won't be disappointed. In the meantime, this baby is going out on 11th February (so basically tomorrow), so don't miss that new Squealer masterpiece !!! Two thumbs up.

Killing Songs :
Rules Of Life, My Last Goodbye, Painful Lust, Facing The Death, Down And Out & Out Of The Dark.
Chris quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Squealer that we have reviewed:
Squealer - The Prophecy reviewed by Danny and quoted 92 / 100
Squealer - Made for Eternity reviewed by Chris and quoted 90 / 100
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